‘Haywire’: Carano kicks butt, her movie doesn’t

M 428 (Left to right.) Gina Carano and Ewan Mc­Gregor star in Re­lativ­ity Me­dia’s HAY­WIRE. Photo Cred­it: Claudette Bari­us ©2011 Five Con­tin­ents Im­ports, LLC. All Rights Re­served.


Amer­ica’s new­est ac­tion-movie heroine — one who ac­tu­ally does her own stunts — makes her de­but in Hay­wire.

With her buff, ath­let­ic build and men­acing grim­ace, mixed mar­tial arts (MMA) star Gina Carano (also the daugh­ter of a former Dal­las Cow­boys quar­ter­back) cer­tainly looks the part of the angry ac­tion star.

One look at Carano and it was ob­vi­ous that Chan­ning Tatum, Ewan Mc­Gregor and Mi­chael Fass­bend­er wer­en’t go­ing to have a chance when it came time to battle.

And speak­ing of battles, I wondered if I was the only one who found it a tad un­com­fort­able watch­ing man after man at­tempt to beat up a wo­man. (Hasn’t it been drilled in our heads that’s a big no-no?)

Any­how, this ac­tion-thrill­er, dir­ec­ted by Steven Soder­bergh (Con­ta­gion), pits Mal­lory Kane (Carano) against nu­mer­ous bad guys in a fight to save her life. Mal­lory is a highly trained op­er­at­ive who works for a gov­ern­ment se­cur­ity con­tract­or. She is be­trayed and left for dead by someone close to her in her own agency. All of this is told to the audi­ence in flash­back.

The ac­tion is the movie’s strongest as­set since the plot is severely lack­ing. The story from writer Lem Dobbs isn’t very en­ga­ging, and when no fight­ing is go­ing on, things get slug­gish quickly. I also didn’t feel it was sus­pense­ful, simply be­cause it was ob­vi­ous that Mal­lory al­ways had the up­per hand.

To Soder­bergh’s cred­it, the movie looks good styl­ist­ic­ally, and the fight se­quences are cho­reo­graphed well and are fairly real­ist­ic, un­like those in many ac­tion flicks.

Even the movie’s open­ing is a bit sleepy, with Mal­lory sit­ting alone at a small-town diner. Enter Aaron (Tatum) with some brief small talk, and all of a sud­den, he’s try­ing to kill her. From their brief con­ser­va­tion, it’s ob­vi­ous that they had some sort of in­volve­ment in Bar­celona, but it’s very un­clear why they seem to want each oth­er dead. She takes him down and es­capes the diner, rop­ing in a ran­dom diner pat­ron named Scott (Mi­chael An­garano) be­cause she needs his car.

She pro­ceeds to tell Scott nearly her en­tire life story as they drive off to some un­spe­cified loc­a­tion. The movie jet-sets off to dif­fer­ent loc­a­tions as Mal­lory ex­plains to Scott (in flash­backs) how she was double-crossed by her agency, headed by Ken­neth (Mc­Gregor) and an­oth­er agent named Paul (Fass­bend­er), while on a mis­sion in Dub­lin.

Carano’s act­ing and line de­liv­ery need some pol­ish­ing (ap­par­ently her voice was altered for the film, and it seemed very un­nat­ur­al and mono­tone). It’s rather ob­vi­ous that Hay­wire is her first flick; the stunt work is im­press­ive, but not enough to carry a 90-minute movie.

The movie boasts an above-av­er­age but un­der­used sup­port­ing cast. The char­ac­ters played by Ant­o­nio Bander­as, Bill Pax­ton and Mi­chael Douglas were more like blink-and-you’ll-miss-them cameos.

With a butt-kick­ing wo­man as the lead, Hay­wire seems on the sur­face like it should be dif­fer­ent enough to be mem­or­able. Un­for­tu­nately, it was bor­ing enough to be for­get­table. This spy flick is paint-by-num­bers, with the gender of the lead its only real con­ver­sa­tion point. ••

Movie Grade: C


You can reach at shorbrook@bsmphilly.com.

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